The four Rs of concussion management
the signs and symptoms of a concussion
the athlete from the game or practice
the athlete to a licensed healthcare professional
to school and then to sport based on the recommendations of a medical expert
If an athlete shows or reports any symptoms of concussion, or just “doesn’t feel right”, they should be removed from play and examined by a licensed healthcare professional.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion
- Concussion Recognition Tool (pictured)
- Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT5)
- Concussions: a Fact Sheet for Coaches
- Concussions 101, a Primer for Kids and Parents
- Sport-Related Concussion: Information for Parents and Caregivers
These resources are all recommended by Sport Canada and Public Heath Agency of Canada
To properly treat and manage a concussion, it is important that an athlete is immediately removed from the game or practice following a concussion. However, removing an athlete from play is not an easy decision, which is why it is important to have informed and relevant policies and procedures in place to ensure athletes are protected.
Only a medical professional can officially diagnose a concussion, and there is rarely a licensed medical professional on the field of play. After removing a concussed athlete from the field of play, refer them to a license medical professional to receive an informed diagnosis and recovery plan.
Athletes who return to activities before recovering from a concussion are more likely to sustain a second concussion with more severe symptoms. However, once the brain has healed and with a licensed medical professional's approval, an athlete can gradually start returning to physical activities.
Returning to play safely requires patience, attention and caution, and will be a different experience for every athlete.
“…speaking of protocols, let’s have one. Let’s keep it as simple as possible and as strong and as accurate as possible.”
Eric Lindros, NHL player, Olympic gold medalist, Hockey Hall of Fame, speaking at the Governor General’s Conference on Concussion in Sport
“We were looking at the bruises and blood on her knee and didn’t realize the most serious injury was the concussion in her head.”
Gordon Stringer, father of Rowan Stringer (Rowan's Law)
“You have to teach smart recovery. If you want to play sport long-term then sometimes that means short-term breaks.”
Rosie MacLennan, double Olympic gold medalist
“You can’t expect a concussed athlete to know they are concussed.”
Karolina Wisniewska, eight-time Paralympic medalist, alpine skiing
“I think even when athletes are aware they should take time off, there’s a lot of fear that taking time off you’ll lose you gains that you made in training.”
Tara Whitten, Olympic bronze medalist, cycling
“When you have a concussion, you don’t know you’re repeating your words. You don’t know how out of it you actually are.”
Mercedes Nicoll, Canadian Olympic snowboarder
“I had a choice to make, as an athlete and as a mom: whether to identify all the symptoms I was having, or to hide them. It was really important for me to speak up on behalf of myself and let people know that I needed help.”
Robbi Weldon, Canadian Paralympic cyclist
The harmonized Guideline and toolkit provides tools for:
The latest concussion news from SIRC
How data informs Volleyball Canada’s concussion strategy
It might be surprising to hear concussions are a serious risk in the sport of volleyball. But data collection from Volleyball Canada—dating back to 2016—has revealed exactly that.
“Our research has shown that about 1 in 10 youth athletes in Canada will sustain a concussion while playing...Read more
Concussion Prevention Through Innovation
It’s a potent mix: dangerous flips and twists performed by young, boundary-pushing athletes who revel in the sport’s free-spirited culture.
More than most sports, concussions are a day-to-day, moment-to-moment risk for the freestyle skiing community. The five demanding disciplines –...Read more
Changing the Sport Culture by Changing the Rules
High-level athletes compete to win. Sometimes, however, they make rash decisions in the heat of the moment that can have serious, long-term consequences.
Take figure skating, for example. There have been instances in the past where athletes and coaches were suspected of downplaying...Read more
Leveraging Consistent, Reliable Information for Culture Change
The signs are out there. The culture is shifting.
Approximately twenty years after introducing its first concussion prevention and awareness program, Hockey Canada says it’s a very different sport landscape now. Players, parents and coaches are becoming far more knowledgeable about...Read more
Innovative Research is Reducing Concussion Risks for Artistic Swimmers
Most Canadians would not consider artistic swimming (formerly synchronized swimming) a contact sport. But ask an athlete or coach, and they will tell you it can get pretty intense.
“Especially in the team events, there are athletes in very close proximity, performing fast, explosive...Read more
Concussions, Rugby and the Bigger Picture
Concussion is a pressing issue in sport. And few sports have been affected as acutely or as deeply as rugby.
The issue has touched people in profoundly personal ways at all levels of the sport. The tragic 2013 death of teenager Rowan Stringer, who died after sustaining multiple head...Read more
Concussion Risks in Your Sport May be Greater Than You Think
For the athletes in this sport, the concussion risks are real even if brain injuries are rare.
It may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but for Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC), concussion education has become a key part of its safety program for a simple, but critically important reason.
How the Sport of Ringette is Putting a Values Lens on the Concussion Issue
Every sport organization faces tough decisions around where to channel its limited budget and human resources.
“It’s no different in ringette, but we’ve found that by putting our values first, it can actually make decisions easier,” according to Natasha Johnston, Executive Director of...Read more
Concussion in Sport - Translating Evidence into Action
From playgrounds to international podiums, millions of Canadians participate in sport every day. While the health and social benefits of participating in sport far outweigh any potential risks, there are risks of injury. Whether you’re a coach, administrator, parent or athlete, we all have a...Read more
Concussions and success don’t often belong in the same sentence. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of organizations across Canada and the harmonized guidelines, Canadian athletes are better protected from the long-term risks of concussions than ever before.
Here are some success stories from athletes and sport organizations in Canada:
Download your concussion toolkit
Help spread awareness about concussions with posters, videos and other marketing materials.
In these files you’ll find ready-made communication tools for spreading the campaign messages within your organization. Please contact us if you would like source artwork to create your own co-branded versions.
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We’ve assembled some of the valuable Concussion awareness and prevention resources made available through our partners. Please download or use as inspiration to make your own tools.
Concussion Recognition Tool
Concussions: a Fact Sheet for Coaches
Concussions 101, a Primer for Kids and Parents
Sport-Related Concussion: Information for Parents,and Caregivers
Canadian Harmonized Concussion Protocol Template
Canadian Harmonized Concussion Protocol Checklist
Medical Assessment Letter
Medical Clearance Letter
Sport Concussion Assessment Tool - 5th Edition (SCAT5)
Child Sport Concussion Assessment Tool - 5th Edition (Child-SCAT5)
Pre-Season Concussion Education Sheet
Canadian Sport Concussion Pathway
Sport-Specific Return-to-Sport Strategy Adaptation Tool
What’s Your Concussion IQ?
Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool
Player Code of Conduct
Hockey Canada: Team Meetings
Hockey Canada: Emergency Action Plan for Hockey
Created by Parachute Canada, Concussion Ed gives Canadian parents, youth and educators free access to critical concussion resources.
A tool from Hockey Canada for anyone interested in learning about the prevention, recognition, and response to a concussion, including responsible return-to-play protocol.
World Rugby’s concussion app, designed for anyone involved in Rugby - players, coaches, parents, teachers, match officials, spectators, and anyone else with a role or interest in the Game.